ESA calls for power balance

According to the Energy Storage Association (ESA), the national grids of Britain and Ireland will need to expand significantly if they are to meet the government’s energy requirements.

With plans to increase the supply of renewable wind energy, the ESA states that electricity supply must match demand in order to balance the system. The organisation claims that if adequate energy storage and supply facilities are not put in place, blackouts may be possible within the next 10 years.

The government has made arrangements for reserve power. However, these will need to be adapted in the coming years as various forms of renewable energy become integrated into the system.

The ESA called on the UK government to review its incentives for installing storage and to support developers in updating license obligations that restrict the use of storage by operators.

Brad Roberts, chairman of the ESA, told a meeting of 90 delegates from across the European Commission (EC) that Europe needs to follow the lead of the US in balancing its electricity system.

According to Roberts, the US is already improving its pumped hydro, large-scale batteries and flywheels to compressed air storage systems and has put in place systems for shifting energy from peak to off-peak periods. However, the ESA added that while these techniques are possible in Europe, they must also prove commercially viable.

Graeme Bathurst, technical director of energy consultancy, TNEI, said: ‘To develop a system that can cope with a higher proportion of renewable energy we must consider the entire system and its impact on society and then develop better ways of managing it. A system level perspective is crucial to addressing these issues, which all too often get bogged down at the individual project level.’